What is philosophy? What can philosophy offer us? What brings us to think philosophically? Arthur Schopenhauer’s writings offer fascinating answers to these questions that have largely been overlooked until now. In Schopenhauer and the Nature of Philosophy, Jonathan Head explores the surprisingly rich and compelling metaphilosophy that underlies Schopenhauer’s work and argues that it offers a vital key to unlocking many of the mysteries that surround his ideas. Schopenhauer understands philosophy as grounded in a deep wonder about life and the world that is universal to the human experience, as well as meeting a fundamental need for both explanation and consolation. This account of the nature of philosophy leads to further important discussions concerning the relationship between philosophy and religion, the value of mysticism, and the possibility of social progress. Through examining Schopenhauer’s account of how and why philosophy is done, this book sheds crucial new light on a thinker whose ideas continue to both provoke and inspire.
Jonathan Head is lecturer in philosophy at Keele University.
Note on Abbreviations and Referencing
1. The Need for Metaphysics
2. Nature and Subjectivity
3. Communicating Philosophy
4. Seeking Better Consciousness
5. Philosophy, Metaphor, and Speculation
“This is a fine and absorbing study that brings to life the power of Arthur Schopenhauer’s thoughts on the value, scope, and limits of philosophy. The author’s clear style complements his daring effort to reveal intriguing aspects of the meta-philosophical concerns of this much neglected thinker. He artfully engages Schopenhauer’s writings in a philosophically rich and evocative way.”
"Schopenhauer and the Nature of Philosophy breaks new ground with its dedicated study of Schopenhauer’s philosophy of philosophy. Jonathan Head elicits answers from Schopenhauer on questions concerning the motivations and methods for doing philosophy and the modes of its communication; in the process it throws light on almost every area of Schopenhauer’s own philosophy. The threads of previous, passing discussions of Schopenhauer’s metaphilosophy are gathered together here for the first time and subjected to a concentrated and thorough critical analysis. Through this a new and original interpretation is proposed and defended, which is sure to be an essential touchstone for any future discussions of Schopenhauer’s thoughts about the nature of philosophy itself."
[This] clear and engaging book will be a very welcome contribution to scholarship on both Schopenhauer and metaphilosophy more generally.